A Learning Path to Retention

Companies simply cannot grow without recruiting and retaining millennials — the generation that, according to research from LinkedIn, will comprise 50 percent of the employable workforce by 2020. But with millennials changing jobs far more often than older employees, even the most innovative companies are struggling to find ways to retain these young workers.

More data suggest the average 32-year-old has changed jobs up to four times. Further, as diversity efforts continue to promote inclusion and a culture of belonging, companies must examine a variety of ways to retain top talent. While this challenge may seem complicated, successful retention efforts themselves can — and should — actually be simple.

Retention strategies need to occur every day but should only add a few minutes to the work schedule. It’s often a simple matter of changing the conversation. Ideally, such strategies can take up just 10 minutes a day. For some employees, it may be as simple as offering more thoughtful compliments on a job well done or expressing deeper interest in their aspirations.

Successful retention strategies focus on humanization, recognition and an understanding of aspirations — followed by the opportunity to develop the skills to realize these aspirations and the feedback to keep employees motivated. A new LinkedIn survey shows that more than 18 percent of working professionals stay in their current job because of opportunities to learn and grow.

When employees feel they belong, they are more engaged and more productive. Unfortunately, however, many employees don’t feel like they fit in. The issue is even more pronounced among minority employees, who, according to LinkedIn research, spend 25 to 30 percent of their time worrying about whether they belong. Pat Wadors, LinkedIn’s human resources chief, says: Only when people feel psychologically safe can they unleash their best selves. When employees are part of a team that values their opinion, they speak up and contribute more. Alternatively, when they don’t feel like they belong, they lose productivity because they waste time worrying about it.

Like many companies, LinkedIn has long known it needs to ensure it is retaining its top tech talent, but it hasn’t always known exactly how best to accomplish this goal. Starting in 2015, the company re-engineered its approach to conversations, training, and recognition and feedback with employees to reduce attrition and increase loyalty and engagement. These steps include manager buy-in, personalized pathways and action plans, and research-based training, as well as a deep dive into talent analytics. LinkedIn’s 2018 Workplace Learning Report also suggests that manager involvement is a critical ingredient to increase employee engagement with learning.

By proactively having career conversations with employees, LinkedIn managers were able get ahead of a person’s decision to leave. By the end of 2015, the engineers who were part of this new concentrated effort had an attrition rate of 8 percent — a rate that was significantly lower than the rest of the engineering organization.

 Tanya Staples in vice president of learning content at LinkedIn Learning Solutions. She can be reached at editor@CLOmedia.com.

Source : http://www.clomedia.com/2018/06/29/a-learning-path-to-retention/

HR Technology: Changing Faster Than Ever

The HR technology landscape is changing faster than ever. And despite what you may believe, the cloud is not necessarily making it easier.

A little history first.

Over the last five years we have been heavily focused on moving HR platforms to the cloud, implementing new systems like Workday, SuccessFactors, Oracle HCM Cloud, ADP, Ultimate, and others.  These cloud-based HR platforms promised to deliver an easy to use interface, a single integrated employee database, and a set of talent management functions we could use for hiring, performance management, payroll, and just about everything else.

While almost 40 percent of companies around the world have made this shift, the results have been different than planned. Yes, most companies see great benefits from a cloud-based HR system: they are able to do away with some of the old-fashioned licensed systems, they have a single unified employee database, and they have a system that stays up to date. Is it cheaper than the licensed model before? It’s hard to say – but most companies were tired of all the integration work to make HR system work together, so simply standardizing on one vendor is a great sigh of relief.

But despite the billions spent on cloud HR systems, the market has moved again. The big cloud HR vendors now have their hands full with features (most have limited payroll functionality, they are trying to update their recruiting and learning products, and they have not built tools for continuous performance management, team management, wellbeing, and a myriad of other applications yet). In fact the cloud HCM vendors are overwhelmed with work to do, because they convinced their customers that they would be the primary system of record, system of engagement, and system of analytics.

Instead, the latest research from Sierra-Cedar shows that the market is fragmenting again. While cloud-based HR platforms are rapidly growing, the number of HR systems of record is increasing (from 4 to 7 in the last year). Why? Because the way we manage our organizations is rapidly changing, and we need a whole new set of team-centric, AI-powered tools to do it well. And as companies put more and more money into building an integrated employee experience, they need case management and mobile platforms that integrate all these applications together.

 In today’s talent-driven marketplace, HR technology is more strategic than ever, and CIOs have no choice but to put time, energy, and strategic thinking into the puzzle 

Today my research shows that the HR technology architecture of the future is more “networked” than “standardized” in the past. While most companies tried to standardize on PeopleSoft, SAP, or similar systems in the 1980s and 1990s, today they should look at Workday, Oracle HCM Cloud, SuccessFactors, ADP, or Ultimate as core platforms, not end-to-end solutions. They are now new “systems of record,” and once again companies are stitching together a wide variety of smaller vendor tools to set on top often integrated with a middleware layer like ServiceNow or another employee portal.

Consider the technology architecture of one of the world’s largest telcos. They have SAP as their core ERP system, SuccessFactors for much of their talent management, two different tools for continuous learning and career management, another tool for goal setting and feedback, a new enterprise system for surveys and sentiment analysis, and a set of tools for organizational network analysis, wellbeing, and new tools for team management and culture assessment. All these newer systems are provided by small, newer cloud vendors, and they were carefully selected by the IT and HR teams to meet the needs of the company’s highly specialized workforce segments. Design thinking was critical to their success, because no single tool worked for all the employees around the world.

In many ways this is nothing new. Just as in the past, we have a core HR system serving to create data standards, security standards, and hopefully represent the organizational model for the business. We have an ERP/Financial system (usually not the same technology but sometimes it is) to handle financial transactions, accounting codes, and organizational budgets. And then we have a wide variety of innovative talent, team management, culture, and engagement tools to sit on top.

Within all this architecture there is an enormous explosion of technology for AI, conversational interfaces, and analytics. Every HR tool of note now has interfaces to Slack, Microsoft Teams, Outlook 365, or Workplace by Facebook. IBM now offers an entire suite of intelligent tools (as do other vendors) to try to improve career decisions, learning recommendations, and even intelligent recommendations on salary changes. Analytics tools embedded in the ERP (or available from third parties like Visier) are now predicting and identifying bias, retention, and other management metrics. And as we buy tools to help employees with health and wellbeing, the HR systems are capturing data on employee movement, fitness, activity, and day to day work habits.

All this innovation is creating an enormous need for data quality, security, governance, and an integrated focus on analytics. Where HR analytics was once a backwater of statisticians or database experts trying to build a data warehouse, today it has become a strategic function that warrants senior executive attention. The next time the CEO gets a government inquiry for gender-pay equity or other diversity measures, the data better be available and it better be right.

In today’s talent-driven marketplace, HR technology is more strategic than ever, and CIOs have no choice but to put time, energy, and strategic thinking into the puzzle. The cloud sounded simple at first, but as time progresses we’re finding that HR technology is once again changing faster than ever.

Source : https://hr.cioreview.com/cxoinsight/hr-technology-changing-faster-than-ever-nid-26699-cid-48.html

Got Promoted? Here’s How To Handle The Transition From Peer To Leader

Many young professionals aspire to be promoted to a leadership position. The new responsibilities and status are certainly exciting, but people often overlook an important challenge in their transition to management: navigating your new dynamic with your former peers.

Naturally, things change when your co-workers become your subordinates, and you have to step up and act like their leader — not their friend — if you want to be taken seriously. It can be hard to make that shift, but there are a few things you can do to set your tenure as a leader off on the right foot. Follow the advice of these 13 Forbes Coaches Council members to feel more confident in your new role.

1. Have A Team Meeting And Ask For Support

Ask each team member — privately first, then publicly — for support of the team’s objectives. In the whole team meeting, give each team member the opportunity to speak about where the team is now headed. When team members are required to be public with the support of the team’s direction, the new leader is accepted much more readily. – John Hittler, Evoking Genius

2. Visualize Your Success

In any new endeavor, it takes mindset and buy-in to attain success. When thrown into a new level of responsibility, it helps profoundly to spend time visualizing yourself successfully performing in the new role. When a story is visualized clearly, our brains cannot discern it from reality. You will own and be what you see, with success and confidence. – Laura DeCarlo, Career Directors International

3. Hold One-On-One Conversations With Your Team Members

Being promoted means you may know the players already, but the relationship dynamics will be all new. Make the time and effort to listen to and learn more about the individuals on your team, their challenges and strengths, and their work styles and preferences. You’ll educate yourself, give voice to your team members and establish open communication right away. – Molly Walsh, Standout Consulting

4. Set Expectations And Encourage Open Communication Right Away

Accept the fact that your role has changed and with that comes new responsibilities, including supervising your former peers. Arrange one-on-one meetings to set expectations, ask and answer questions, and enlist their support. Create an atmosphere of open communication where people feel free to share ideas and concerns. Let them help in shaping a vision around which everyone can coalesce. – Daisy Wright, The Wright Career Solution

5. Work With A Career Coach

Bring in a professional career coach to ensure your staff knows your best strengths and leadership style. Preparing for this before the transition will build confidence and help you stretch your skills with less pressure. This approach should happen with all your staff, as it will create a learning-driven culture that is positive, future-focused and has better retention. – Gayle Draper, Intentional Careers and Human Resources

6. Maintain A Positive Mindset

Behave as if you were the best in the world in your new role. Ask yourself what your priorities are and where your impact lies. Leverage the relationships you have with your co-workers; listen and learn from them. You can’t please everyone, and some people are just not going to like that you got promoted. Maintaining a positive mindset in the face of resistance is part of being a leader. – Jean Ali Muhlbauer, The Muhlbauer Companies, LLC

7. Empower Your People As A Servant Leader

Transitions into management are rarely easy. When shifting from team member to team leader, there can be a dramatic shift in the power dynamic among peers. The most successful new managers alleviate the dissonance associated with this shift by adopting the role of a servant leader, getting in the trenches with their team and valuing the contributions of every individual. – Niquenya Collins, Building Bridges Consulting

8. Perform A Personal SWOT Analysis

Take some time to perform a SWOT analysis of your professional skills so that you can build a team that will enhance your strengths, build up your weaknesses, help to seek out additional opportunities and plan for potential threats. – LaKesha Womack, Womack Consulting Group

9. Find An Early Win 

Most individuals do not care about age or status. They care about vision and results. When a peer is promoted, the single most important factor for success is finding early and important wins or successes. When a new leader makes the right decision or takes the right action, it creates confidence both in the followers and in the leader. Every new leader should focus on their first wins. – Ken Gosnell, CEO Experience

10. Lean On A Mentor

Becoming a leader, especially to former peers, can be challenging. Doubt and frustration may arise during this time both for you and your team. Seek out a trusted mentor for support and guidance so you feel confident setting boundaries as a new manager and paving the way as the new leader. – Lizabeth Czepiel, Lizabeth Czepiel, LLC

11. Focus On Your Executive Presence

Competency is king as an individual contributor. But, now that you are the team leader, focus on developing your decision-making, communication and social skills. These, along with your appearance, contribute to your overall executive presence, and your presence will help establish your credibility and your command. Stay true to yourself, but now that you are in a new arena, look the part. – Julianne Cenac PhD, The Leader Channel

12. Accept That Your Relationships Will Evolve

Moving into a role where you now lead your former peers will feel strange in the beginning because the social norms of your relationships have all been turned upside down. You must allow your relationships to evolve, even if you were social friends before your promotion. As much as you might want the relationships to stay the same, they can’t because your role has changed. – Jenn Lofgren, Incito Executive & Leadership Development

13. Be Authentic

Be yourself. Some people take on a different persona when they step up to lead. You have been promoted because you have shown leadership skills and expertise in your field. Authenticity builds trust and a culture of safety where others can show up as themselves. If new leaders need help feeling comfortable with the new role they should ask for leadership training or a personal coach. – Frances McIntosh, Intentional Coaching LLC

Source : https://www.forbes.com/sites/forbescoachescouncil/2018/06/28/got-promoted-heres-how-to-handle-the-transition-from-peer-to-leader/#747985d41832

If This Is How You’re Doing Workplace Engagement, You’re Doing It All Wrong

Surveying employee satisfaction is pointless unless you act on what the team tells you.

With the almost incessant buzz around the term “employee engagement” over the past few years, everyone knows how important it is for employees to feel a deep connection to the work they do. We all care — and are all trying to do it well — but the methods haven’t come close to keeping up with the buzz.


While many businesses rely on employee satisfaction surveys to signal how likely staff members are to stay, these so-called indicators of “engagement” are far from the end-all, be-all they’re chalked up to be. Instead, it’s important to cut through the buzz to break down why these surveys are only the starting point of fostering engagement — it’s what employers do beyond them that counts.

The existing limitations of surveys

It’s not that employee engagement surveys are useless — you may have seen firsthand how well-designed surveys can help predict behavior, diagnose culture issues, provide a forum for feedback and even plant expectations for behavioral changes you’d like to see.

However, it’s also really easy to gather bad data with these surveys. People may lie for job security or because they don’t trust that their responses are truly anonymous. Some may be too disengaged from the culture to have any incentive to participate — and those are some of the people you need to hear from most. Others simply may not believe that their voices will make an impact (the same reason many people don’t vote), either because they feel lost in a sea of people or because they don’t believe anyone will actually pay attention to the results.

But let’s say you do design a clear survey and people respond and they answer honestly: Most surveys still don’t provide a clear sense of “what’s next.” For example, while Kansas State University research shows the benefits of having a friend at work, if your survey came back saying that many of your employees didn’t have friends in the office, would you know how to help them make a change? Probably not.

As a result, many well-intended solutions end up feeling like superficial fixes to a problem that wasn’t fully heard — there’s a sharp line between what you do and what your employees see. For example, many employers may think that providing free lunch paints a picture of friendship: Friends get lunch together, and now our employees do, too. But this solution falls short of addressing the root of what employees really want and need and, in reality, often ends up looking like employees with identical sandwiches at their desks. It’s easy to think that perks such as ping-pong tables, company T-shirts, holiday potlucks and quarterly lunch-and-learns take care of the commitment needed from us as leaders, but they don’t.

In other words, if you start with the aim of pacifying — not listening — you’re thinking about workplace engagement in all the wrong ways. Rather than rush to throw on a few quick Band-Aids, leaders need to stop and determine whether the problem is a paper cut or a broken leg. Similarly, the process of information gathering shouldn’t stop with a survey — it should be just the beginning. If you’re not taking the time to both listen to your employees and provide opportunities for your employees to listen to each other, there’s a whole lot you’re going to miss.

Changing how you listen

That sounds great and all, but how do you do it? As the founder and CEO of a platform for workplace engagement, I’ve spent a great deal of time talking with HR executives and employees to understand how people build communities and what leaders can do to foster those connections. From these interactions, here are two easy starting points to begin listening to your employees so you can implement changes that will actually matter.

First, paired with employee surveys, regular one-on-ones with your employees are an excellent tool to both diagnose your company’s culture and provide an opportunity to get to know your employees. By scheduling them frequently enough to make people feel heard, you also build in time to react to things in a meaningful amount of time. These meetings should take place across your entire organization, at every level of management. And it’s crucial to ensure that you’re asking the right questions — if you aren’t receptive to feedback, people won’t give it. Just by gathering this info, your employees will feel that someone cares and is encouraging their growth, both of which Gallup has linked to deeper engagement.

Second, to create moments when employees can listen to each other, foster opportunities for them to connect around the things they care about most. Throw real support behind employee groups, whether they’re ERGs, employee-interest groups or culture committees. With time, money and tools, you can enable them to create programming and connect with others around what they find meaningful. This also leads to strong subcultures that not only help you gauge the current culture, but also go a long way toward making people feel more connected.

If you do nothing else today, start with this one thing: Take the time to listen to your employees so you can understand what they really need, not what you think they want. And if at the end of all that, you still end up with seas of ping-pong tables, at least you can be confident it’s money well spent.

Source : https://www.entrepreneur.com/article/315607

Three keys to an effective succession planning strategy

Here’s what companies and their HR leaders must know about effective succession management, including why it’s important and which business and HR functions should be involved.

The numbers may vary, but a myriad of studies show the same issues: Baby boomers are retiring at record rates, many of your workers are looking for new jobs and you’re going to have a shortfall of Generation X and millennial leaders who are ready to move up. Add to that the widespread skills gaps across a variety of industries, along with too few companies focusing on talent development strategies. The upshot? Your company can’t afford to put off succession planning for a “better” time.

“I view succession planning as being a process that really allows an organization to continuously recruit and make ready their [talent] pipeline,” said Michael McGowan, who leads the leadership and talent practice at BPI group, a global talent management consultancy. He includes potential leaders at various levels of the hierarchy, starting with the CEO. But in an ideal situation, a company has a succession planning strategy for roles across and down the organization chart. This will enable a company to fill roles in both the short and the long term, he said.

Toby Townrow, managing director of 10Eighty, an employee engagement firm and software vendor that works with SMBs across both white-collar and blue-collar industries, also has an expanded view of succession planning. “Succession planning is successfully encouraging talent and helping people grow and develop to effectively ensure organizational success.” It involves attracting, developing, recruiting and retaining individuals who the company considers valuable.

Almost everything is scalable. It’s a matter of setting your priorities.

Daniel FeimanManaging director, Build It Backwards

Daniel Feiman, managing director of Build It Backwards, a leadership and management consultancy and training firm, also works primarily with SMBs. He said the organization’s attitude counts for a lot when it comes to effective succession planning. “Almost everything is scalable. It’s a matter of setting your priorities,” Feiman said. “You can either spend your life putting out fires and [saying], ‘We’ll get to making it better tomorrow.’ And tomorrow, of course, never comes. Or you can set the priority that you need to improve by X% per year, per month, per day, and [figure out] how to do that,” he said. “If we’re going to take 5% of our time and our budget and put it into training, let’s schedule that. And it gets done.”

The best way to create an effective succession planning strategy will vary from organization to organization according to factors such as size, goals, maturity of any succession or workforce planning programs that are already in place and the talent management software being used. That said, there are a few components that go into creating an effective succession planning strategy that can help you get you started.

1. Decide on key positions

It’s a truism to say that change is constant. But today, “exponential” is a better description, and knowing the types of talent required to learn new skills, deal with new technology and keep up with other shifts is paramount.

“What got you here won’t get you there,” McGowan said. He’s referring both to the idea that anyone you promote into a new type of position will need new skills to do their next job well and the idea that deciding on key roles depends on knowing where you want to take the company.

Once that is established, both HR and executive leadership should be involved in deciding on which roles will be tackled during succession planning. And as McGowan and others pointed out, what you consider “key” will have a lot to do with the extent to which you already have a succession planning strategy in place. However, starting with top leadership is a must.

Beth Miller, founder of leadership development and talent management firm Executive Velocity, typically works with SMBs. She said that, while “succession planning is building a leadership pipeline throughout the organization,” you need to “start with the CEO.”

McGowan, who works with large enterprises and SMBs across industries, also recommends starting with the CEO. He said that, ideally, a company “should have seven CEOs within the organization.”

From there, move on to other roles you’ve identified.

2. Map current talent capabilities and gaps

An important component of your company’s succession planning strategy is identifying current employees with the potential to fill the roles identified and determining their strengths and growth areas. Don’t just go with the obvious choices. Internal choices, in general, should be prioritized, since recruiting externally typically comes with higher costs and has morale ramifications. However, other considerations, such as a lack of current employees to fill future roles or a need for new diversity and inclusion efforts, are also important.

“You’re looking for highly motivated workers with potential — they’re curious for new experience, they have insight and are good at problem-solving, and have great communication skills,” Townrow said.

“The capacity to learn is critical,” Miller said. She added that SMBs cannot afford to take 90 days to onboard a new hire — external or internal — so looking for people who can learn and take the initiative is critical.

Some software vendors offer stand-alone succession planning software meant to help with succession planning. For example, SuccessFactors and Workday offer modules, although companies tend to use lower-tech management tools, according to experts.

One reason for this, according to Townrow, is that, unlike more traditional software, such as ERP or even a human capital management system that streamlines HR processes in the short term, succession planning is longer-term and “transformational” and so seemingly easier to put on the back burner “when there are fires to fight.”

McGowan pointed to the nine-box grid as an assessment tool that business and HR leaders can use — typically in their once- or twice-yearly succession planning meeting — which enables an evaluation of employees’ current and potential contribution to the company. It, too, is used to identify gaps.

The BASKET technique can be used as a succession planning tool, according to Feiman. It’s the model that evaluates what people in certain roles need in terms of behavior, attitude, skills, knowledge, expertise and talent, and how various employees align to these roles and what gaps they have.

The Belbin team roles theory is another tool that can be used to enable succession planning strategy, according to Townrow. It helps to identify employees’ strengths and weaknesses through the lens of nine clusters of work behaviors.

Yet another tool to consider is the 360-degree assessment, which takes multiple views of an employee — not just a manager’s. Proponents say this can help to create a more objective measure of an employee’s potential and of areas that need improvement.

3. Create a succession management plan and measure results

As part of identifying the right talent for a given role, experts say it’s critical to get input from employees. Finding out what their career goals are is a must, whether that comes from informal meetings with the manager and others or additionally via the learning and development software that is in place to help capture such information.

That information, along with all the other succession management assessments, can be used to create a plan. The range of such plans can vary wildly depending on, for example, whether the next role is machinist or CEO. In the former case, the employee might simply be primed for the next role, but in the latter case, the CEO-to-be will have taken on work that fills in gaps in experience, along with pertinent leadership training.

On a general note, Miller said that those being groomed for managerial and leadership positions can virtually always benefit from training in certain core competencies, such as emotional intelligence, giving hard feedback and coaching.

Simulations can also be helpful, according to Feiman. As an example, he pointed to the beer distribution game, an experiential simulation game that helps to illustrate key principles of supply chain management, such as the bullwhip effect.

Miller also recommended putting employees on cross-functional groups where they are charged with collaborating to develop a new product — a win-win for the company and the employees.

One key, according to Townrow, is to provide the development to employees so that they truly have a bridge from the current role to the next.

And here’s where it can get especially tricky: Each of the departments involved in talent management, recruiting, learning and development, and succession planning need strong lines of communication to align their succession planning support initiatives, such as tailoring training to employee gaps and recruiting talent identified as necessary to filling key roles.

Measuring the success of your succession planning strategy is critical, both along the way and at regular intervals. The best way to measure growth in emotional intelligence won’t be as straightforward as whether an employee can code a particular language, so adjust accordingly.

Creating an effective succession planning strategy is not a one-and-done endeavor, and there’s too much at stake not to give it the attention it deserves.

“People are so much more able to move where and when they want to because the skill set is between their ears,” Feiman said. “We have to create growth opportunities to reward employees… and [that also help] the organization. It’s as important today as it’s ever been and will [remain] so in the future.”

Source : https://searchhrsoftware.techtarget.com/feature/Three-keys-to-an-effective-succession-planning-strategy

How To Take Orders From A Robot, And Other Career Survival Tips In The AI Workplace

Both HR leaders and employees are expecting more AI (Artificial Intelligence) coming to the workplace.  A new AI-at-work study conducted by Oracle and Future Workplacesurveyed 1,320 U.S. HR leaders and employees and found that people are ready to embrace AI at work, but feel organizations are not doing enough to help their employees take advantage of AI. If AI is coming and companies are not helping employees cope, then the burden is on you to build your career to survive and thrive in the AI workplace.

If you believe that AI will automate many jobs away, then you need to strengthen your unique skills and expertise to better compete in the AI job market. I covered three strategies for career-building in a future without jobs in an earlier post. If you’re gainfully employed and want to maximize the AI trends that are coming to your employer, here are five career survival tips for building on the trends identified in the Oracle and Future Workplace study:

Stay flexible in how you manage up

 93% [of employees] would trust orders from a robot. – Oracle and Future Workplace study

If AI truly arrives, you may be managed by a robot! More likely for now, you may find more technical colleagues taking management slots, as technology expertise becomes increasingly valued. Either way, there will be management shifts as companies start incorporating AI and working differently, so don’t get too accustomed to any one management style

Survival tip: Whenever you have a change in management (or even if it’s been a while since you’re connected with your current manager), ask your manager specifically how they like to communicate – how frequently, in what format, which report does s/he like to receive. Do not assume that your manager will tell you what s/he expects. Do not assume your manager shares your same communication preferences.

Be ready to change systems and processes

…when asked about the biggest benefit of AI, HR leaders and employees both said increased productivity. – Oracle and Future Workplace study

If AI truly delivers on its promise of increased productivity, then companies can do more with less, and your role will change, if not be eliminated entirely. As this productivity transition takes place, the systems and processes of your work will change, and you’ll need to adapt. Just like you shouldn’t get too accustomed to one type of manager, you also don’t want to be stuck on one way of working.

Survival tip: Pay attention to changes in your company’s systems and processes. Change can benefit you if you become an expert in the new technology, or if you are able to exploit the new systems and processes to get even better results. You need to recognize and embrace the changes, if you want to stay relevant.

Create your own training curriculum

72% of HR leaders noted that their organization does not provide any form of AI training program.  – Oracle and Future Workplace study

It would be nice if companies provided training and support when changes occur, but even apart from AI, companies don’t always invest in the learning and development of their employees.

Survival tip: Find out what training your company does offer and take advantage of it. But be prepared to create your own training curriculum. If you’re interested in AI specifically, find out who within your company is working on these initiatives and offer your help. At the very least, this person or group can make suggestions on blogs and other resources you can study to get more knowledgeable about AI for your role specifically.

Become indispensable to your employer and industry

Respondents identified reduced productivity, skillset obsolescence and job loss as the top three consequences of failing to embrace AI. – Oracle and Future Workplace study

When companies change how they do business, whether due to AI or another innovation, results will be measured differently, different skills take priority and different roles emerge (with some roles eliminated). You want to be flexible to management shifts, change systems and processes as needed, and get trained on the new skills and expertise you’ll need (hence survival tips 1-3 above). You also want to clarify what your employer needs and ensure you are involved in meeting that need. This way, you become indispensable to your company’s success.

Survival tip: Confirm how your employer stays in business and grows its business, and pay attention to changes in strategy . You may have been indispensable before because you focused on a particular market or client, but now AI has made that market less important or has taken over your key client. Are you still contributing to the bottom line? Are you still working on a priority area for the company? There are different ways you can become indispensable to your employer – make sure you are still indispensable despite changes in management, systems, processes, and requirements.

Don’t panic – you have time to adapt

While 70% of people are using some form of AI in their personal life, only 6% of HR professionals are actively deploying AI and only 24% of employees are currently using some form of AI at work. – Oracle and Future Workplace study

If 93% of people are ready to take orders from a robot but only 6% of HR professionals are actively deploying AI, then there’s a disconnect between expectation and reality. This doesn’t mean change isn’t happening, or that when it becomes the norm it won’t feel disruptive, but clearly you have time to adapt.

Survival tip: Set reminders now to implement your career survival plan so you don’t get complacent but also so you can pace what you’re trying to accomplish in achievable chunks. Next week you can check with your training department on offerings. If you have already identified a new system you want to learn, set aside an hour to find a class or to work with a colleague who is willing to train you. Book a meeting with your manager to confirm how s/he likes to communicate and to learn about upcoming initiatives in the pipeline. Don’t get complacent, but don’t panic either.


Caroline Ceniza-Levine is a career change expert and co-founder of SixFigureStart. Her latest career change is running CostaRicaFIRE.com.

Source : https://www.forbes.com/sites/carolinecenizalevine/2018/06/30/how-to-take-orders-from-a-robot-and-other-career-survival-tips-in-the-ai-workplace/#31fe54831a79

3 Human Capital Management (HCM) Trends to Watch Out for in 2018

We look at three megatrends in the Human Capital Management (HCM) space that will help organizations unleash the power of their people.  

Consumerization of workplace, rapid advances in technology and the changing workplace demographics are pushing HR Technology well beyond automation of traditionally manual tasks and redesigning performance management process, to reimagining the way we manage talent.

We spoke to Amber Lloyd, Global Leader of HCM Strategy and Customer Engagement at Infor on the sidelines of the UNLEASH conference held in Las Vegas earlier last month where we discussed the latest trends in human capital management in 2018.

  1. AI will be the price of entry into the HR tech space: At a time when the hype and expectations for AI are sky high, Amber sees AI not as a solution for competitive advantage, but as a powerful tool embedded in HR technologies. She said, “I think artificial intelligence has become this marketing buzzword, where people are talking about how they incorporated it into HR. But if we look at the big bang companies – Facebook, Amazon, Netflix or Apple, they have artificial intelligence that’s already built in, but we don’t talk about it anymore. It’s kind of price of entry into that space and I believe HR organizations are going to be using and leveraging artificial intelligence for things like serving up recommendations, career paths, predictive information and helping employees know what sort of training and development they should go after.  I think we’re going to start seeing it actually embedded more and more in the software versus sort of this marketing buzzword that’s out there.”

    AI must enable employers to create employee experiences that boost engagement, performance, and lead to better business results. Conversational interfaces and voice technologies have great potential to transform the way employees engage with their employers. Amber spoke about applications of AI-powered voice technology at the workplace, right from reminding employees about their paid time off to identifying high-performers and helping retain them, voice is perhaps the next frontier of employee-centric workplace tech.

  2. HR technology will pave the way for diversity and inclusion: A lot has been said about the business case for diversity and inclusion. A McKinsey study found that gender-diverse organizations are 15% more likely to outperform competition; while ethnically diverse organizations are 35% more likely to do so. Despite these compelling realities, organizations are still struggling with issues like gender pay gap and diversity.

    HR technology can be a powerful equalizer, weeding out conscious and sub-conscious bias during recruitment, performance reviews and succession planning. However, Amber believes, more than the technical aptitude of vendors to deliver on diversity and inclusion, it is organizations that must embrace a cultural mindset to take action based on recommendations they’re getting from their HR tools . It is here that technology vendors have a real opportunity to transition from mere enablers to strategic partners.

  3. Balancing data privacy with personalization will be key to building great employee experiences: Data privacy in the age of personalization is a balancing act. While research says that employers using data-driven decision making are more likely to succeed than employers that don’t, regulations like GDPR and concerns around employee privacy continue to plague organizations. How can employers deliver personalized experiences, and respect employee data privacy at the same time? The answer is by delivering value. Amber says, “It’s a fine balance between empowering employees with rich insights into their careers and, ensuring data privacy.”

    A strong HR analytics function can help you create valuable employee experiences. For instance, employers can serve personalized benefits recommendations based on the information collected during the onboarding process. In the era of information overload, personalized recommendations like these are a great way to build unique experiences. Employers can also harness employee sentiment and feedback to drive increased loyalty and ultimately business growth.

    Instead of downplaying the risks associated with data privacy, employers must address specific employee concerns about how their information will be used. There’s a high likelihood that data privacy concerns are rooted not in the use of data, but accountability. Employers need to be transparent about privacy by adopting an employee first strategy.

A common theme underpinning all three megatrends in HCM technology is employee centricityAI, data analytics, and HR technologies are opening up new avenues for employers to create and nurture lasting relationships with their employees .  It would be interesting to see how organizations capitalize on these opportunities to get on top of the talent game!

Source : https://www.hrtechnologist.com/articles/performance-management/3-human-capital-management-hcm-trends-to-watch-out-for-in-2018/

Blockchain in HR: 8 Ways Blockchain Will Impact The HR Function

The demand for blockchain in HR is growing and we are here to tell you why.  Check out the following 8 ways blockchain will impact the Human Resources function.

While blockchain is widely associated with Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies, blockchain technology is set to revolutionize how the HR and recruitment functions operate within business.

Blockchain, the decentralized distributed database, is being trialled and implemented by numerous companies across multiple industries on a global scale.  No longer confined to cryptocurrency, blockchain’s capabilities can be extended to sectors such as logistics, fashion, healthcare and even humanitarian causes like we can see with the ID2020 digital identity initiative which aims to provide a global identity solution for refugees.

At present, we see companies such as Hays and NRG are in the initial stages of jumping on the blockchain bandwagon and it won’t be long until the HR and recruitment processes are likely to become more streamlined with this tech.

“Blockchain’s implications for the finance industry are well-known, but the potential to use the technology in the world of work is huge and it will soon transform HR and recruitment,” says Grant Torrens, Business Director of Hays in Singapore

So how will blockchain impact the HR function?

1.    Recruitment

Recruitment takes up a lot of time and resources within the HR department, so much so that organizations turn to third party agencies or recruiters to claim back the time.  But as those methods usually come with a hefty fee, it can be quite counterproductive.

As most of the candidate information usually sourced during the recruitment phase can already be viewed on the blockchain, there’s a huge amount of the process already streamlined.  Resumes will be a thing of the past and looking at grades, certificates, work history and experience will be easily verified and visible to people with direct involvement.

“There are problems with our recruitment of different types of workers. These include prejudice and bias, lack of visibility of available workers, low levels of trust in centralised social networks, spam and high fees to intermediaries. We now have the opportunity to build the next generation work platforms enabled by technology such as artificial intelligence, mobile and blockchain, the underlying technology behind Bitcoin.” Andrew Spence, HR Transformation Director at Glass Bead Consulting

With blockchain creating the option to eliminate many of the third party and back office elements of recruitment, blockchain could potentially be responsible for recruiters becoming redundant.

2.    Verification

CompTIA uncovered that 51 per cent of early adopters of blockchain currently use it to verify digital identities and this is because the data stored comes from trusted sources such as authorized institutes.

Being able to verify individuals’ identities, background and work experience alongside real time information relating to pay and claims will undoubtedly free up some much needed time to allow HR to focus on the more strategic goals of the business.

3.    Referencing

The process of employee referencing has changed a lot over the years and it looks likely to change again soon.  As HR will have access to a candidate’s employment record that is accurate and reportedly impossible to falsify, the referencing process will become more transparent and address fraudulent credentials, increasing the chances of you hiring talent better suited to the business.

“Once someone has done a degree, they will just put their certificate in blockchain and it never needs to be verified again,”

  • Jacky Carter, Group Digital Engagement Director

4.    Smart Contracts

It’s reported that 45 per cent of early adopters of blockchain are already implementing smart contracts within their organizations.

Smart contracts between an employer and its workforce will make it possible for workers to be paid automatically thanks to a code which will determine what happens to the money once it comes in and certain conditions are created.  The distribution of wages can happen instantly with no risk of delays or fraud.

Smart contracts also support the rise of the ‘gig economy’ as gig workers would benefit from such a system of contracts and payments being made if they are part of the supply chain of an organization.

Not having to upload workers onto the payroll system, being able to outline the terms upfront and having the ability to switch on and off a contract will be quite appealing for employers and their HR teams that are used to adhering to normal procedures.

5.    Employee Life-Cycle

The whole employee life-cycle would be disrupted by the implementation of blockchain technology as the current procedure to hire and on-board a new recruit can be lengthy.  From conducting the interviews, checking qualifications, validating work background and gathering references or applying for the necessary security checks – it all takes time.

This process continues throughout employment (for example, if the role changes, further qualifications are obtained or different management is assigned during a handover) until eventually the employee exits the company.

And it still doesn’t end there!

Then you may be requested to forward some of this data to potential new employers for their checks on that individual and alongside this the whole process renews again.

As blockchain would already hold all of this validated information, it would significantly reduce the time and energy spent on this process, simplifying the whole HR experience.

6.    Secure ‘Transactions’

‘Transactions’ in a blockchain setting can be anything from an exchange of personal information, work history, records to financial details and cryptocurrencies.

The capabilities of cybersecurity are changing the future of these transactions as the information stored on blockchain are secured through cryptography which makes it extremely difficult to tamper with.

Knowing that blockchain is an enabler of secure transactions should put employer and employee minds at ease.  Less risk means less claims of security or data breaches being made for HR to tackle.

7.    Attendance

For ID2020, the blockchain technology is used to store biometric data, such as a fingerprint or iris scan, for legal ID and record-keeping.  Organizations could use this technique of storing unique employee data to track attendance and expenses for wages and claim purposes.

Human resources would have visibility to the real-time data and there would be no dispute that the records are accurate, strengthening the trust element in payment authorization and looking into claims made.  This would decrease errors and frustration caused between the HR and Payroll departments.

8.    Compliance & Auditing

49 per cent of companies already implementing blockchain, use the technology for compliance and auditing purposes and it’s easy to see why.

With the data stored within the blockchain already accurate and validated, audit checks for compliance would be easy to conduct and readily visible to those authorized.

It looks like blockchain technology would be a welcome addition to HR that is likely to free up time and resources needed to focus on core business goals and objectives whilst strengthening the role of HR as a strategic partner.

We are still closely watching how blockchain in HR will evolve and how it will potentially improve the way business operates – don’t worry, we will be sure to keep you updated!

So are you working within an organization that has implemented blockchain technology?  We would love to hear about your experience!

Just to recap, here are 8 ways blockchain will impact HR:

  1. Recruitment
  2. Verification
  3. Referencing
  4. Smart Contracts
  5. Employee Life Cycle
  6. Secure Transactions
  7. Attendance
  8. Compliance and Auditing

Guest Post from Norberts Erts, Co-founder of HR software company CakeHR that streamlines attendance and performance management for customers worldwide.

Source : https://irishtechnews.ie/blockchain-in-hr-8-ways-blockchain-will-impact-the-hr-function/

Performance Reviews

Do performance reviews fill you with anxiety? In this episode of HBR’s advice podcast, Dear HBR:, cohosts Alison Beard and Dan McGinn answer your questions with the help of Adam Grant, an organizational psychologist at the Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania and host of the podcast WorkLife. They talk through how to handle performance reviews that have mixed messages, extreme criticism, or not enough helpful feedback.

The transcript is given below.

From Alison and Dan’s reading list for this episode:

HBR: What to Do When You Think Your Performance Review Is Wrong by Dick Grote — “Challenging a boss’s appraisal, even in a clear-cut case of bad data, is always a ticklish matter. Be cautious. It’s not easy to say to your boss, in whatever words you choose to use, ‘You’re wrong.’ Don’t lose sight of the fact that your boss probably has a significant investment in the appraisal you’ve decided to challenge.”

HBR: How to Ask for Feedback That Will Actually Help You by Peter Bregman — “Being good at receiving feedback is especially important at work, because your colleagues are less likely to push past your defensiveness and more willing to write you off if they have a hard time working with you. If that happens, you’ll never know why — since you won’t have heard the feedback — so you’ll keep repeating the same mistakes.”

HBR: What to Do After a Bad Performance Review by Carolyn O’Hara — “But research suggests that letting something simmer can make things worse, for several reasons. When we’re stressed, our brain tends to mount a defensive ‘fight-flight-or-freeze’ response—during which there’s reduced activity in brain areas responsible for reasoning, self-control, and forward thinking. And trying to suppress our irritation has been found to make our brain’s defensive response more pronounced rather than less.”

HBR: Let’s Not Kill Performance Evaluations Yet by Lori Goler, Janelle Gale, and Adam Grant — “The long march to the boss’s office to get evaluated—it’s a moment we all dread. Performance reviews are awkward. They’re biased. They stick us in boxes and leave us waiting far too long for feedback. It’s no surprise that by the end of 2015, at least 30 of the Fortune 500 companies had ditched performance evaluations altogether.”


DAN MCGINN: Welcome to Dear HBR: from Harvard Business Review. I’m Dan McGinn.

ALISON BEARD: And I’m Alison Beard. Work can be frustrating, but it doesn’t have to be. The truth is that we don’t have to let the tension, conflicts and misunderstandings get us down. We can do something about them.

DAN MCGINN: That’s where Dear HBR: comes in. We take your questions about workplace dilemmas and with the help of experts and insights from academic research, we help you move forward.

ALISON BEARD: Today we’re talking about performance reviews with Adam Grant, an organizational psychologist at the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania. He’s also the host of the podcast WorkLife. Adam, thanks so much for joining us.

ADAM GRANT: Thanks for having me.

DAN MCGINN: So, Adam, have you ever had a particularly memorable performance review of your own?

ADAM GRANT: Oh, I definitely have. I feel like the six years I spent as a springboard diver, basically every moment was a performance review. I’ll never forget, I had an incredible coach, Eric Best. One day I just felt like I was on. I had the timing right. I feel like I have this really smooth rotation and I come out and hands together, this very clean entry and I can just feel there’s no splash. And I come out of the water and Eric looks at me and he says, Adam that was bad. He had a list of about nine things that I did really poorly. I can’t see myself objectively. I’m flipping and twisting in the air and I actually think a performance review puts you in a situation a lot like the one I was in with my diving coach. It’s almost impossible to operate in any job without blind spots. And so, I think performance reviews are often the time when those blind spots become visible to us, but we don’t want to admit we’re blind.

ALISON BEARD: Well, it seems like you have a very healthy attitude to negative reviews. Let’s see how we can help some of our letter writers. Dear HBR: I don’t know how to handle a brutal and weird performance review. A bad review is one thing. This one reads like the burn book from that teen movie, Mean Girls. I’m a woman and so is my boss. This was my first review with her. I was blindsided by the fact that she included little input of her own, but shared intensely brutal, nonconstructive quotes that she said she got from others. She had the grace not to name who she was quoting. I sincerely believe that there’s always room to grow and that I need to look past the venom for the truth. I said nothing. However, my boss began responding to my silence as though I was resisting the feedback. She repeatedly asked why I hadn’t given my opinion of others. After all this she began to give me positive feedback from my direct reports. She named who it came from, but she did this verbally. None of this was in my written performance review. The part that completely baffles me is that I got an overall rating on meets expectations. I also got a great bonus and an amazing raise. Have you ever heard of this kind of review before? How should I plan for next year’s review cycle?

ADAM GRANT: Wow. I think we need a sequel to Mean Girls called Mean Reviews. [LAUGHTER] I don’t even know where to start. I’ve never seen anything like that before. It’s wildly inconsistent and it sounds to me like the manager who delivered it did not think it through before it happened.

DAN MCGINN: My first reaction was she did such a great job of not getting angry, not getting defensive, not arguing her viewpoint. She did a lot better than I would have done in this situation, so I give her a lot of credit off the bat.

ALISON BEARD: Yeah, absolutely. I mean I might have burst into tears.

DAN MCGINN: You would have burst into tears. [LAUGHTER]

ADAM GRANT: Well, yeah look. I think at some level keeping your composure is one of the ways that you’re getting evaluated when you’re given a review on how well you take the review. But I think sometimes you need to send a signal back that acknowledges that you’re processing it. And so, one of the pieces of advice that I often end up giving to students and to executives is when you’re giving a performance review, you want to clarify the expectations for how you’re supposed to respond upfront. So, instead of just diving right into the review, you actually want to have a conversation about the conversation, a meta-conversation, where you say look, I just want you to understand going in, what are your goals for the review and I’m assuming like any review there’s some things you’re going to tell me that I’m not doing perfectly or that I can approve on and I’d just love to know, what do you think is the most effective way to respond to that? I don’t want to be defensive at all. There might be times when it’s helpful for me to explain my perspective, but to make sure I’m really hearing it and processing it, is it OK with you if I just listen?

DAN MCGINN: That’s a great strategy.

ALISON BEARD: Absolutely.

DAN MCGINN: I don’t think anybody actually does that.

ADAM GRANT: No, but there’s no reason why you can’t and in fact, it’s actually perfectly comfortable for you to be silent and the other person ends up coming out feeling more understood, more self-aware and also with a less extreme opinion.

DAN MCGINN: The fact that she was blindsided by this, makes me wonder whether this boss isn’t giving frequent enough check in’s, feedback. It’s like a classroom situation where you’re getting grades throughout the semester so you’re not just suddenly hit with an F at the final exam. It sounds like maybe more frequency of feedback would be useful in this situation.

ADAM GRANT: Yeah. I’d certainly, it’s tricky because you don’t want to look needy and you don’t want to create an impression that you’re like millennials often get stereotyped. I’m desperate for feedback every single moment. So, I even want you to tell me how I’m doing in this conversation and then how I’m doing in when I ask for feedback in this conversation. You don’t want to signal insecurity, but I agree with your point Dan that as a manager you failed if anything you say in a performance review is surprising. Because it’s your job to raise the feedback right when the moment occurs, or as quickly as possible afterward. And so, I think a more frequent check-in could be helpful, but to raise it you have to have a confidence that your manager actually sees value in having those conversations.

ALISON BEARD: It seems strange in this review though because it’s almost as if the feedback coming from peers or whatever 360 the manager has done in preparation for this formal meeting stands in direct contrast to what the manager things herself and what even this woman’s direct reports think.

DAN MCGINN: I think there’s actually important data in that piece of it. One of the messages she needs to take away from this interaction is that this might be a more sort of democratic kind of culture than this woman realized and she needs to sort of take that into account going forward.

ADAM GRANT: I think that’s one interpretation. I think another interpretation is that this is a culture that has extremely high politeness norms. And so, people are afraid to tell her their feedback to her face and so, they choose a much more indirect passive-aggressive strategy and that means the feedback is not clear and it’s not put in context. If that’s the case, one of the ways that you can respond to that is you say all right. Well, I have to figure out how to make it safe for people to tell me what they think right to my face. And so, one way you might do that is by sharing the performance review openly with some people that you think might have some views on it.

ALISON BEARD: And you’ve seen that work because I imagine a bunch of people sitting around saying, oh no, it wasn’t, that wasn’t me trying to still be polite.

ADAM GRANT: Yeah, I actually don’t even care if people respond that way. What I want to do is I want to get their perspective on what’s going on. So, let’s say I raise this and everyone I talk to says, oh I don’t know where that’s coming from. My job is to go the extra level and say, OK. But I’m trying to figure out what I’ve done that might give someone that perception. Do you have any insight into what that might be? And if you were to guess, why are people saying these things about me, I’d really just love to know what I can do differently or better so that people don’t have this perception anymore. And if you have enough of those conversations, people will start to give you at least some educated guesses that could help you get to the bottom of it.

DAN MCGINN: When you describe that I’m struck by in the workplace there are no videotapes of us performing, so it sounds like going to objective colleagues is the next best thing we can get for that outside look in.

ADAM GRANT: And the other thing you can do is you can review some of your equivalent of the game tapes so you do have access to all your emails. You can start to go through them and look for patterns. You could even ask somebody who doesn’t even work in your organization to look at a bunch of emails you sent and see if they can pick up on anything that might be creating the impression that apparently you’ve created.

DAN MCGINN: Is it good or bad that the actual negative feedback she got didn’t lead to an actual poor, fails to meet expectations rating, on the one hand, that’s great because she didn’t lose any money. On the other hand, it sort of takes the teeth out of the whole process.

ALISON BEARD: Adam, what do you think? Was that a bad move on her manager’s part to give her everything that she wanted?

ADAM GRANT: I don’t think we have enough information to know. So, it’s not a bad move if that’s a bunch of gossip from jealous colleagues who are threatened by her.

ALISON BEARD: But then why would she even share it?

ADAM GRANT: Well, because, just because people are responding out of jealousy doesn’t mean that they’re entirely wrong. So, if, let’s say you’re in a situation where she’s an excellent performer. She’s an excellent manager, but there are some people that she’s rubbing the wrong way. It could be useful information for her to know that and for her to think about it and imagine how to change her behavior a little bit to address it.

ALISON BEARD: Right. Or, they’re causing her to, maybe if she could have gotten exceeds expectations had she managed her peers better.

ADAM GRANT: Yeah, I mean look there are a lot of mixed signals here. I would say though that one thing that’s clear is that organizations send signals about what they value through the decisions they make about hiring and firing and rewarding and punishing and promoting. And so, if she finds out that this is a high-performance rating or this is a high bonus than that signals that net, she’s valued and this other information is either not being taken as totally credible or it’s not seen as central to her performance and contribution. And then the opposite, if she finds out that this is in fact not as strong as she thinks.

ALISON BEARD: I think you raise a good point. She’s come into this review process sort of not knowing a lot about how her organization does these things and what certain ratings mean. So, how can she find out more about how things work?

ADAM GRANT: Well, this is a lot of the sort of the untaught skill of reading organizational cultures and politics, of trying to figure out what norms and expectations are when oftentimes the people setting them and shaping them aren’t that clear on what they want them to be themselves. And so, one thing worth doing is actually going back to her manager and asking, what’s the distribution of performance ratings? What do you think of the meets expectations? Does that mean I’m doing well or I’m doing OK?

DAN MCGINN: Is that the first step in preparing for next year’s review cycle?

ADAM GRANT: I think it probably is. I think, I mean the conversation with the manager has to, the follow-up discussion has to be the first step. And then from there, it’s sort of, it’s a decision tree depending on what she learns from the initial discussions. But I think the other thing that might be worth thinking about for the next performance review is to formalize a 360 process and say, all right, instead of having these kind of one-off comments that are being collected and read verbatim, can we systematically gather people’s insights on what I’m doing well and where I can improve and that way I can get a much more comprehensive sense of how important this feedback is and how representative it is.

DAN MCGINN: That would make it feel a lot more scientific and less ad hoc. Sort of reminds me of a Yelp review about her as a person. [LAUGHTER]

ADAM GRANT: Yeah, a little bit.

DAN MCGINN: Good. Alison, you want to sum up?

ALISON BEARD: Sure. She did a great job by not reacting in an emotional way when she got this negative feedback. Next time she might want to talk to her manager before she goes into that meeting about what’s going to happen in the review and the fact that she would just like to listen. Going forward she should ask for a conversation with her boss to get more information. She should make it clear to her boss and everyone else that she’s willing to take honest, real-time feedback all the time and possibly institute some sort of ongoing 360 system. And then she should also just develop a better understanding of how her organization works, how people are reviewed, rated and compensated so that she knows what to expect next time.

DAN MCGINN: Next question. Dear HBR: I work in Egypt in a senior management position, responsible for projects for my company. Well, at least until recently. That’s when I resigned after getting my first ever poor performance review. Here’s what happened. When I joined the company, one of the project manager positions reporting to me was vacant. We hired a guy with little skills and experience. I warned people that he was not properly qualified, but due to time constraints and no other candidates being available, we agreed to hire him, as long as the company got him some project management training. The types of projects he was supposed to manage were one or two days at most. I thought this should not require extensive experience. Early on I monitored the unit delivery through its key performance indicators. The projects were on time and there were no problems. Six months later a project coordinator reporting to this guy took another internal job. I asked the project manager to take care of delivery details until we could replace the coordinator. This is when it became apparent the project manager was incompetent. Nothing happened for about 90 days. I started working with him on every detail and tried to coach him, but other people in the organization started having serious conflicts with the guy. He wasn’t mature enough to address these problems so I went to HR and came up with a performance plan for him. Three months later the problems were still there. The sales team blamed my team for the delayed deliveries. My manager told me that I did not provide this guy enough attention and didn’t teach him the ropes efficiently. During my performance appraisal, my manager blamed me for this problem. I’ve never had a poor performance evaluation in my career, so I resigned. Am I to blame? Was it my mistake to not give this guy a poor evaluation during his probation period since the delivery was excellent during his first few months? What did I miss? What should I have done better?

ALISON BEARD: Adam, what should he have done?

ADAM GRANT: I don’t know. There’s so much missing information here.

ALISON BEARD: I feel like there’s so much information.

DAN MCGINN: That’s what makes this fun. It’s like a mystery.

ADAM GRANT: I want to know way more. So, where did this guy fall short?

ALISON BEARD: I think his first mistake was —

ADAM GRANT: The hire.

ALISON BEARD: Yeah, exactly.

ADAM GRANT: The hire yeah. The hiring decision was a bad call, but it doesn’t sound like it was his decision.

DAN MCGINN: It sounds like he pushed back as much as he could, given the situation.

ADAM GRANT: He did and so, it’s unclear why he’s being held accountable for that decision when it wasn’t his and he didn’t even support it.

ALISON BEARD: Well, then there’s the second mistake of not paying attention to the team dynamics. So, because everything was going well he didn’t realize that the project coordinator was the person keeping the trains running until that person left.

ADAM GRANT: Yep. That’s huge and so, it’s, I guess there, the should have done is to make sure that you’re separating individual contributions from the overall team results.

DAN MCGINN: See, I think you’re both wrong. I think his biggest mistake was quitting.

ALISON BEARD: No, I was getting to that. I was doing the mistakes in order. [LAGUHTER]

DAN MCGINN: Well start with the big one.

ADAM GRANT: We’re going chronologically.

ALISON BEARD: I know. I feel terrible for him because you can understand that reaction in the moment. I’ve never gotten a terrible review. You believe this is all my fault. I’ll fall on my sword. I get that reaction and I wish he had had the control of our first letter writer to not do something so drastic in the moment.

ADAM GRANT: I’m not totally convinced.

ALISON BEARD: That he shouldn’t have quit?

ADAM GRANT: Yeah. I mostly agree, but there’s a part of me that wonders, OK, if he’s going to be blamed for a situation that he thought he had handled pretty well, and it’s going to affect his performance that significantly, if I’d been a star everywhere else I worked, maybe this is not an organization where I’m going to be successful.

ALISON BEARD: But he didn’t even try to have a discussion with his manager about what had actually happened.

ADAM GRANT: Well, that obviously I think is a disappointment. But I think if you play that out there’s the possibility that you still end up saying, you know what? I want to find an organization that I feel appreciates my skills and doesn’t point fingers when something is not handled perfectly.

DAN MCGINN: So, you’re not saying, you’re not defending his quitting on the spot? You’re saying that with some reflection, time and sort of making a deliberate decision that this was not an organization that he wanted to be with for the long term, you’re not saying, yeah he might have wanted to quit on the spot like that.

ADAM GRANT: Yeah. I mean look, he got a negative report, performance review and he gave them a negative review back and voted with his feet.

ALISON BEARD: I think leaving is such a terrible idea. What is the story he tells in his next job interview? I got a bad review after my team missed all its deadlines and so, I quit?

DAN MCGINN: It would have been better if he cried like you would have. [LAUGHTER]

ALISON BEARD: So, what could he have done to either involve his manager earlier on or show that he was doing his job?

DAN MCGINN: I would have hoped that would have been the outcome of this poor review instead of our guy quitting, that they would have looked back at the root cause of the poor performance which is they hired the wrong guy and no surprise, his performance isn’t very good. It brought the whole team down. Let’s get rid of him.

ADAM GRANT: Yeah. Although long before that there was a request, OK, look, if we’re going to hire him we have to give him project management training.

DAN MCGINN: And it’s not clear that happened at all.

ADAM GRANT: Right, but if it did let’s have a stage gate there. In other words, I would have made that a contingent hire and said, you prove the capability before we bring you on fulltime.

ALISON BEARD: Right. I also worry about our letter writer’s sense of urgency. The waiting for 90 days while nothing is happening seems really problematic to me. And in that sense, his boss had every right to ding him for poor management. That to me is way too long to wait.

ADAM GRANT: And I find that 90-day delay especially surprising because in the letter he says we hired this guy because there were no other suitable candidates and we needed to move. And so, if you have so much urgency that you deliberately hired somebody who was underqualified, then you ought to feel that urgency in managing that person’s performance too.

ALISON BEARD: Or, spend the time looking for qualified candidates.

DAN MCGINN: Yeah, that should have been in the never-ending, hire the guy, but keep a job search going quietly in the background.


ADAM GRANT: That could be helpful.

DAN MCGINN: I really saw this as a cautionary tale. I felt very badly for this senior manager who’s left his job. It’s a reminder that the manager is going to be held accountable for the performance of the team even if the team consists of somebody you didn’t want to hire in the first place. It feels really unfair, but it really is the reality in a lot of places.

ADAM GRANT: Well, I don’t know if it’s unfair. Being a good manager is not having a bunch of people say you’re a good manager. Being a good manager is meeting your goals. And as a manager, your goals have to do with what your team accomplishes. You know, in organizational behavior there’s a great body of research on what’s called escalation of commitment to a losing course of action. Barry Staw has done a lot of research on this at Berkeley and what he shows is if you’re responsible for an initial decision to bring someone in, you’re much more likely then when they’re underperforming to say, all right, but I got to prove to myself and other people that this was a good decision and try to turn them around. And our letter writer here didn’t really make the decision to hire him so he’s free from that pressure to escalate, but he clearly feels responsible for trying to make it work since the hire was forced on him in the first place. And so, trying to coach him, making a performance plan, at some point that becomes escalation. That the expected value is negative here. And so, it’s time to have that conversation much sooner and say look, I’ve worked my hardest to coach this guy. Is there anything else we can do and if not, we do need to be looking for a replacement.

DAN MCGINN: So, now that he’s resigned from this job and he’s presumably looking for his next job, how should he try to spin this?

ADAM GRANT: I don’t actually think it requires a lot of spin. What I would do if I were in his shoes is I would be forthcoming and saying look, I’ve had excellent performance reviews throughout my career. I’m a senior manager. And I got into this situation where I was concerned that this guy was not qualified to be hired. I was asked to hire him anyway. I agreed. We trained him. I tried really hard to coach him. I didn’t succeed and then I ended up with a poor performance review. And so, I decided to leave the organization to find another organization where my strengths were more appreciated and where I felt like I could make a contribution.

ALISON BEARD: Adam, I’m going to have you do all my interviews from now on. [LAUGHTER] That was brilliant.

ADAM GRANT: I mean look, no I mean I’m just summarizing what he said.

ALISON BEARD: In a really eloquent way that makes you sound so good.

ADAM GRANT: No, I think the other thing that I would advise him to say in the interview is to say, here are the two mistakes that I made during this process. I think in retrospect I should have reported much earlier that my coaching of him was ineffective and that I wasn’t making progress and I was really determined to show that I could do it and I didn’t succeed and it took me too long to admit that. And I’ve learned from that and I’m not going to make that mistake again. And then, instead of being too patient I was too impatient and hasty in making my exit decision and I’ve learned from that too. And again, as long as you can share growth there I don’t have a problem with that.

ALISON BEARD: Great. So, Dan, what are we telling this man?

DAN MCGINN: First we’re saying we feel especially bad for this gentleman. He’s out of work and we wish this hadn’t happened and we’re wishing him all the best. In terms of his specific question, what should he had done better? If he really thought this project manager was not qualified it was a mistake to agree and go along with his hiring. That’s the first thing. The second thing is at the six-month mark when the project coordinator quit, he needed to recognize that was the moment at which the performance problem started. He needed to do a better job of communicating with his manager throughout this so that other people were aware that his coaching was not paying off and they could have made a decision to replace the project manager earlier before it even got to his performance evaluation. And then finally, we think if he’d been able to manage his emotions in the face of this negative performance review, there might have been a way for it at the company. In terms of his job hunt, if he can explain what he’s learned from the situation, make clear that this was the first time he’s ever had a negative performance evaluation and that he’s learned from it, we think he’s going to have a lot of success in finding a great new job and we hope it will be a better fit.

ALISON BEARD: Let’s go to the next question. Dear HBR: I’m a young female associate at a large accounting firm. I work directly for three partners. They’re all very busy people. They’re all bad at giving concrete feedback. I find it difficult to get the support I need from them to successfully do my job. One form of feedback in my line of work is through what we call review points. Those are essentially direct comments about what needs to be fixed on a project before it becomes a final deliverable to the client. My most recent experience with this ended with a partner placing all the blame on me for a project gone awry. It was highly technical with a short deadline. I got no formal review points on what needed to be fixed. Then, weeks later when the project was over the partner called me to his office. He said that he had to change several things and that I put him in a bad spot. I responded, I was in the office all weekend working. The rest of the team wasn’t and it was difficult for me to be successful in the short timeframe with the little help that I got. We do have a formal annual performance review process too. One of the partners won’t complete any sort of review but will give candid feedback if you ask for it. Another will sit down with me about once a year. And the other one does a great job of giving formal feedback. Thankfully this partner didn’t give me a terrible review after that project went poorly. But these experiences make my work environment stressful and make it hard to learn new skills. I enjoy my job and I believe I have a lot to learn from these partners, but it feels like herding cats. How do I help them help me while also being cognizant of their busy schedules? I have requested better feedback, but nothing ever seems to change.

ADAM GRANT: Welcome to life in a professional services firm. Look, I think that the situation here is pretty clear. We have someone who wants more timely and more useful feedback. Probably the best way for her to get it is to show that it has an impact on clients. It becomes a much higher priority to partners than hey, I want you to take time out of your busy schedule and invest in my development.

ALISON BEARD: What do you think of her reaction in the moment with her boss when he told her about the changes?

ADAM GRANT: Oh, I think it’s a totally understandable reaction and I sympathize with it. It’s probably not the most effective impression management strategy. So, if she wants to manage up well, a safer way to express that sentiment would be to say, I worked really hard on this and you have my commitment whenever you need it to work on something until it’s right. And is there anything I can do moving forward to make sure it is right so that I’m investing these extra hours in a productive direction?

DAN MCGINN: Adam, you said earlier, welcome to life in the professional services industry. I think of the big accounting and consulting firms as doing a lot when it comes to talent development and making sure that young associates are taught the skills. Shouldn’t there be other resources within the firm that would help her so that she’s not so dependent on these three individuals to teach her everything?

ADAM GRANT: Of course. And so that’s where in any organization, but especially in an organization that hinges on knowledge work, there should be some central resources available that she can go to and say, hey, here’s the project that I was on. I realize that in a time crunch I didn’t have time to pick up the skills or knowledge that I needed and I didn’t even know what skills and knowledge I needed. Do you have resources available for me to get up to speed and what, again, what would you suggest that I do in the future? And ideally, they can provide some support. So, I think actually her first step is to think about the three partners and figure out which one is the most invested in developing junior people. And then go to that partner and say, hey, I’d really love your advice about how to navigate situations moving forward where we’re in crunch time and I’m not sure if my work is on track, what would you suggest I do? And then the hope is that the partner gives her some good advice or points her in the direction of some people to talk to or sets her up with a good, either training program or mentor, or even talks to the other two partners and gets them onboard with the idea that they can make a bit more time for her.

ALISON BEARD: More coordination between the three partners is a good idea, but I couldn’t quite figure out how this woman could suggest it.

ADAM GRANT: No, I don’t think she can make that happen. I think the gentle advice request is probably her best option. I love Katie Liljenquist’s research on this where she shows that when you ask people for advice you flatter them. Because we all admire the wisdom of people who come to us for advice. They have great taste. They knew to come to me. And then, you also force perspective taking and you get them to look at the problem from your vantage point. And that means that because they’re feeling good about you because they understand your perspective, they’re more likely to help you and advocate for you and even if they don’t do that, you’ll at least get some good tips and recommendations from them.

DAN MCGINN: I think she also needs to recognize that even though she says that these guys are terrible at giving concrete feedback when you get them in the right environment, she says one will give candid feedback if you ask for it. Another will do it, but only once a year. The third one is actually really good at it. This strikes me that there’s a little bit of a glass half full, half empty situation here and that she needs to say, this might not be ideal and it might not come at the right frequency, or just the right moment, but there are plenty of people who have way worse bosses when it comes to feedback than she does.

ADAM GRANT: Oh, yeah.

ALISON BEARD: I think the problem is though, it’s not ongoing feedback that she needs, sort of on an ad hoc basis. It’s, there are specific times when she needs their attention and she’s not getting it exactly when she needs it. And I don’t really know how to work around that in this high pressure, accountancy environment in a way that doesn’t anger the bosses and sort of make them wish they just had someone more competent who could do it without asking for help.

ADAM GRANT: Yeah, I think that’s a huge risk.

ALISON BEARD: So, how does she do it?

ADAM GRANT: I don’t know. I just study this stuff, right? [LAUGHTER]

DAN MCGINN: Come on, you’re supposed to be flattered that we’re asking you for advice here Adam. [LAUGHTER]

ADAM GRANT: Well, I don’t know that there’s a silver bullet here. I think one place to start would be to go to a partner and not just have the advice conversation, but also say look, I just want to level with you here. I realize that there’s sort of a catch-22 where if I spend the time asking questions and trying to learn what I need to know to be helpful on this project, there’s a possibility that I’ll hear from any of the partners, we should have just done this ourselves or hired someone more competent. And yet, if I don’t do that then there’s a good chance that I’m not going to do a good job. And then they’re going to think that they should have someone more competent. And I would like to be in neither of those situations. So, what have you seen other associates do to navigate this dilemma? And I guess, you have to figure out whether it’s safe to have that conversation with one of the partners. If it’s not you go to the person who hired you or recruited you who was your champion or advocate —

ALISON BEARD: Or, a peer.

ADAM GRANT: Exactly. You go to somebody, one or two years ahead of you in the associates’ program and you describe what happened and say, OK, what’s the received wisdom about how to navigate this? And then you hope there’s a way around that tradeoff.

ALISON BEARD: Yeah. I think going to peers for advice is a great idea. I also am trying to solve the mystery of which partner she should talk to and I’m torn. One part of me wants her to go to the one who is just great at giving feedback and seems like the nicest. The other part of me wants her to go to the one who’s most critical, the one who blamed her.

ADAM GRANT: Oh, well I think this is easy. You do both and you do them in order. So, you first go to the really supportive partner and you ask for advice about how to navigate the conversation with the more difficult partner. And then you go and have that discussion with the difficult partner.

DAN MCGINN: Your response on the first letter that you need to be careful about asking for too much feedback. You have to be careful to avoid seeming needy. Did that thought cross your mind as you were reading this?

ADAM GRANT: It did. I thought about it largely in light of Sue Ashford’s research on feedback seeking which shows that people who fish for compliments are judged negatively, but people who reach out and ask for criticism are usually judged positively. And yet, that ladder finding, it ends up being curvilinear so that you can ask for too much feedback. You can ask for feedback too often. And so, I think one thing that as a junior associate especially is important to keep in mind is to say, OK. What do I think is the ceiling in how often I should be seeking feedback, per partner? And knowing also that these partners might talk to each other. Is it once a week, is it once a month? And I’d want to have that overall guideline in mind and then try to make sure that I’m consolidating whatever questions and feedback requests I have within that window so that it doesn’t seem like it’s a constant flurry of, kind of, I need more from you. I need from you. Because after all as a junior associate you’re there to help partners, not vice versa, according to the way that their work is structured.

DAN MCGINN: I’d also want her to start thinking about her life beyond these three current bosses. It sounds like she would really benefit if she had a partner who was especially good at coaching and teaching. And at a big firm like this, there’d have to be some bosses who are, some partners who are renowned for that. So, she might start to try to identify who they are and begin trying to plot a course that gets her from working for these three partners that she’s herding like cats and over to this boss or partner who’s known as an extraordinary teacher and mentor.

ADAM GRANT: I think that’s a great idea and the Heath brothers would call it finding the bright spots where you say look, large organizations can be bureaucracies. They can be full of red tape, but one of the advantages is that they’re just more people. And so, your odds of finding somebody who stands out positively on any dimension or greater if you have 1,000 people than a hundred. That’s a great suggestion for her. The challenge of it is that she may well need to succeed with the current partners before other doors open. And so, I wouldn’t want her to neglect the current situation as she’s trying to find a greener pasture.

DAN MCGINN: So, Alison, what are we telling this young accountant?

ALISON BEARD: First, because this is such a dynamic environment she should be careful about how much she’s demanding from her bosses. She should see if she can learn by doing and glean as much from the feedback she does get as possible. It does seem that at this stage it might benefit her to have some direct conversations with at least one, if not all three of her partners and in that she should be more specific. She should explain to them not only that she needs feedback, but why, when and how she needs it in order to yield the best outcomes and definitely frame this as something that will help to better serve the clients. Last, she should draw on the other resources that there are in the organization, whether it’s training programs or her peers who have gone through similar situations and might offer some good advice about how to do her job better.

DAN MCGINN: Adam, thank you so much. We’re giving you only positive feedback for your performance.

ADAM GRANT: That’s disappointing, but it was fun to be here anyway.

DAN MCGINN: That’s Adam Grant. He’s an organizational psychologist at the Wharton School. He’s also the host of the podcast WorkLife. Thanks to the listeners who wrote us with their questions. Now we want to know your questions. Send us an email with your workplace challenge and how we can help. The email address is DearHBR@HBR.org. On our next episode, we’ll be talking about getting the complications of family businesses. To get that episode automatically, please subscribe.

ALISON BEARD: And if you like the show, please give us a five-star review.

DAN MCGINN: I’m Dan McGinn.

ALISON BEARD: And I’m Alison Beard. Thanks for listening to Dear HBR:.

Source : https://hbr.org/podcast/2018/06/performance-reviews